India doesn’t need ‘many institutions’ to ensure growth, development: Anand Sharma

New Delhi, Dec.21: Referring to the recently passed Lokpal Bill, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said Saturday that the country doesn’t need ‘too many institutions’ to ensure its growth and development.

On December 17, the parliament voted for the appointment of a powerful Lokpal to investigate any wrongdoing in the government, ending years of dithering, as public anger has mounted over a string of corruption scandals.

The Congress Party, which suffered big losses in key state elections over the past month in part over allegations of a pervasive culture of corruption, rushed through the Lokpal Bill in the Rajya Sabha.

Sharma, however, disagreed.

“You don’t need too many institutions, this is my belief. Gandhi (Mahatma Gandhi) did not need a Lokpal to lead us to freedom, to bring the mightiest empire to his feet,” said Sharma.

However, he agreed that some might feel the need for such an institution and may be that is the reason why the parliament passed the bill.

India is due to hold general election by next May, and corruption and clean governance are expected to be top campaign issues.

Under the new law, the Prime Minister’s Office and all top government servants and departments will come under the Lokpal’s purview.

But the regional Samajwadi Party (SP) has opposed the passing of the bill, saying it would further paralyse government decision-making, as officials would be too scared to take decisions for fear of investigation.

The Lokpal Bill will be appointed by an independent committee comprising Prime Minister, the head of the Supreme Court, the leader of the opposition and an eminent jurist.

India has existing laws to tackle corruption but civil rights activists have argued that these are not enough in the light of the large number and scale of scandals in one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.

India is ranked 94th in a list of 177 countries on Transparency International’s 2013 global corruption index, rated as worse than China, South Africa and Brazil in terms of graft. (ANI)